Did I overreact to being called a little girl?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am in my early 60s and have worked in my profession for over 30 years. I recently wore my hair pulled back, and a co-worker (with whom I get along) commented that my hairstyle was “cute” and that it made me “look like a little girl.”

Judith Martin 

I thanked her, and said that I knew she meant the comment as a compliment (I wanted to at least show that I’d give her the benefit of the doubt), but asked her politely not to call me a little girl. She asked, in a surprised voice, “Why not?”

When I said that I considered it disrespectful, another co-worker who was standing near us asked, in a challenging voice, “in what way” it was disrespectful. We resolved the issue when I said it was OK to say I look “cute” (I don’t like that either, but I wanted to end the conversation).

I told another co-worker, a friend, about the incident, and she also questioned what was wrong with the remark.

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